Alcohol Manufacturing Fee (Updated)

Today’s paper reports on a new fee for producers of alcoholic beverages,

The Portland City Council on Monday will consider delaying implementation of a new manufacturer’s license fee for breweries, distilleries and wineries after brewery owners complained about being blindsided by the proposal, which was part of the city’s budget.

Update: the City has decided to postpone the new fees.

Wine Guy in a Beer Town

Joe Appel has penned a feature article for today’s Maine Sunday Telegram that explores what it’s like to be a wine guy in a beer town.

But even if the numbers tell a mixed story, the feelings tell a straight one: There’s cultural excitement around beer in southern Maine that wine doesn’t currently match. Surely in the near future nothing will matter but marijuana (stack those pallets high next Thursday, Riverside Industrial Parkway!), but for now Portland feels like a beer town, and a fancy-beer town at that.

Sunday Food Section

Today’s Food & Dining section in the Maine Sunday Telegram includes:

Recognition of the growing number of restaurants and bars offering non-alcoholic cocktails on their menu,

Walk into just about any bar or restaurant in southern Maine, and it’s likely you’ll find other drinks like the Kermit – mocktails that contain no alcohol, for customers who prefer not to imbibe. Most times there’s a simple explanation for their abstinence – they’re on medication, they’re pregnant, they’re in recovery, or maybe they just don’t like the taste of alcohol. More recently, bartenders have seen the rise of the “sober curious,” people who have quit drinking completely or severely cut back – not because they were addicted but because they want to feel better and say goodbye to hangovers.

intel on where to find vegan and vegetarian tasting menus, and

These chef-curated, small plate meals found at high-end, often meat-centric restaurants can be exciting sources of plant-based nosh, if you know where to look. Each restaurant serves something different, of course, but the tasting menus share an emphasis on seasonal produce and a desire to offer an extra-special dining experience.

a review of Woodford Food & Beverage from the perspective of 6-year old Margaux Boger written up by her parents.

At Woodford Food & Beverage, foodie families can have their cake and eat it, too. Family night out has something for everyone, with sophisticated adult food and an upscale take on kid food favorites. It’s the kind of restaurant that makes you feel like you’re having a classy night out without making you feel like you shouldn’t be bringing your kid. It’s welcoming. This is what we’re looking for in a restaurant.

Turn Down the Volume

Author Nancy Harmon Jenkins makes the case for bringing restaurant dining room volumes down to a more tolerable level in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram.

So what’s the solution? You can tuck your ears between your shoulders and put up with it. Or you can complain. Complain loudly, if you must to get above the noise. If enough of us Ancient Mainers with money in our pockets, looking for enticing places to spend it, if enough of us complain, the owners will hear, believe me. Or they will, perish the thought, get old too and understand what we’re yelling about.

Fire Temporarily Closes Restaurants

According to a report from the Press Herald, a fire on Sunday has temporarily closed Flatbread and Ri-Ra.

[Fire Chief] Gautreau said both businesses had to close Sunday following the fire, which was concentrated in a roof line hood vent, and won’t be able to reopen until the owners meet with the city’s code enforcement officer on Monday to develop a repair plan. A portion of the roof had to be opened up and there was some water damage, but Gautreau said the building’s sprinkler system worked well to contain the fire.

Kitchen Apprenticeship Program

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published an article on the HospitalityMaine kitchen apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship is mostly hands-on training – 2,000 hours’ worth –  plus 145-290 hours of academic work that covers topics such as nutrition and food safety. Apprentices receive raises as they attain certain milestones, and when they complete the program they get a certificate from the Maine Department of Labor.

 

Great Lost Bear, Sidewalk Dining

This week’s Food & Dining section includes an article on the 40-year anniversary of The Great Lost Bear,

Dave Evans, who founded The Great Lost Bear with his wife, Weslie, is now 72, but still comes into the restaurant every day and has no plans to retire. Many Portlanders have their own fond recollections of spending time at the Bear – such as sipping craft brews from one of its 80 taps, or mugging for the Bear Cam at the bar. Evans, naturally, has his own, and recently shared some of his favorite memories of the place that has become his second home.

and an article on sidewalk dining in Portland.

As the number of restaurants in Portland continues to rise, so does the demand for outdoor seating, where locals and tourists alike can bask in the sun while slurping Maine oysters or sipping craft beer. Setting up tables on the sidewalk allows restaurants without private outdoor space to compete for customers who won’t dine out any other way when it’s warm enough or have their dog in tow — and more and more of them are taking advantage of that option.

Bánh mì

Today’s Sunday Telegram includes an article on the growing popularity of Bánh mì sandwiches.

In Portland, it used to be just the foodie crowd who knew what a banh mi was, and that you could get one at Kim’s Sandwich on St. John Street, before it closed in 2016. Today these Vietnamese sandwiches seem to be everywhere, showing up in both traditional and experimental forms.